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Are you financially independent?

(202 Posts)
GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sun 23-Feb-14 20:38:13

So I am massively in favour of financial equality in a relationship. DH and I have a joint account into which both our salaries go and we both have free access to this. We don't have much spare money, but we manage our general life costs and spend within our means. DH earns more than me and since we had our daughter 18 months ago, I work part time (20 hours a week). We share everything.
But I'm not financially independent am I? Because if we split up (not something that is likely to happen, but it's good to plan!), I wouldn't be able to manage. The majority of what I earn goes on childcare (in reality, we obviously party childcare from our joint money, but if I didn't work we wouldn't have to pay it at all do it's a legitimate calculation to make). Alone I would be left with maybe £300/month after childcare and not much more if I went full time. We rent in an expensive city and it's a struggle to find anything under £1000/month.
So I guess what I'm asking is how does one become truly financially independent? Do you just have to earn loads yourself- enough so that you could manage everything alone? Or doesn't it matter?

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sun 23-Feb-14 20:40:37

Think I meant to put this in relationships... sorry!

ToootSweet Sun 23-Feb-14 20:41:52

Yes I'm completely independent, but I'm a single mum and always have been so possibly not who you're asking.
My mortgage is very, very low so that helps.

edwinbear Sun 23-Feb-14 20:43:40

Yes, I am, I earn more than dh.

NoArmaniNoPunani Sun 23-Feb-14 20:44:10

Yeah I'm completely financially independent, I earn double what DH earns.

Wouldn't you be entitled to tax credits/help with childcare costs if you split from your husband?

DarlingGrace Sun 23-Feb-14 20:44:18

how does one become truly financially independent?

You academically work, get a degree, work all the hours god sends - you do not have children.

or you inherit

or you marry a rich bloke and screw him over once you've had his offspring

or you win the lottery

or you shell out and bleed the state dry

Trills Sun 23-Feb-14 20:45:26

can report your post and ask for it to be moved.

If you died, would DH be able to afford the house and childcare and everything else?

Probably not.

So he's not fully financially independent either.

You earn less money than you would if you worked more, but he earns more money than he would if he spent as much time doing childcare as you do.

TheGreatHunt Sun 23-Feb-14 20:45:36

Well even two couples who both earn might not be independent as they'd not be able to afford their home without each other. But they could become independent if they adjusted their place of living.

You're still working and if the worst happened, you'd go full time and put your dd in childcare (salary dependant!) and hopefully be able to claim tax credits and your DH would also contribute.

nkf Sun 23-Feb-14 20:45:37

Financial indepenence matters a great deal to some people. It's the sort of thing that seems to matter more if the relationship isn't good in other ways. That said, some people always want to feel independent even if they are happy with their partner.

MamaPain Sun 23-Feb-14 20:47:30

I would define myself as financially independent.

That doesn't mean I could cover our lifestyle entirely by myself, one of the advantages to being in a relationship is the pooled resources so yes we have a mortgage and expenses that require our two salaries. However, I earn my own contribution, I make the decision as to what it pays, no one but me decides where my money goes, and I have savings in only my name. If DH and I split, changes would need to be made but I could support myself and my children without him and without any of his money if necessary.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 23-Feb-14 20:48:09

If you and your partner did split up you'd possibly be entitled to some benefits and also a %age of your ex's wage so although on just your wage you think you wouldn't be able to manage, in reality you probably would.

My sister left her ex 10 months ago - they'd been together for 10 years and have 2 children together. She was very worried at first about hoe she'd manage financially but between maintenance and benefits she manages just fine. She doesn't class herself as financially independent though as she is reliant on benefits and without them she wouldn't be able to afford her childcare and housing bills.

arethereanyleftatall Sun 23-Feb-14 20:48:17

No, not at a Sahm,, obviously not. But my dh and I are a team. He earns,I look after the girls, and him, I guess. So, I don't need to be. That's not how it works.

themaltesefalcon Sun 23-Feb-14 20:49:17

I earn more than my husband and have a far greater earning potential than he does. If we split up, it would be him in the shit, really. I encourage him to save part of his salary for a rainy day. Everyone should have an "oh shit" fund, as we learnt the hard way (natural disaster, not a break-up).

mumandboys123 Sun 23-Feb-14 20:49:23

Yes, I am now. I wasn't when my ex husband walked out. It was a very hard lesson to learn and I worry about friends in similar situations. I know not every marriage ends like mine did but it's not just feckless husbands - any of us can be affected by serious illness or disability or just the unexpected overnight.

I love my independence now, it took me a few years to get here but I wouldn't give it up for anything!

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sun 23-Feb-14 20:50:46

That's a good point- I guess he isn't financially independent either. I don't think it bothers me as our relationship is a happy unit, I'm just wondering if it's something one should be striving for despite a secure relationship.
Fuck knows how I would though. I am educated to a high level but work in academia so no chance of giant bonuses or anything outside my grade! Suppose I could try a job in the private sector, but I love my current job so it would be a shame.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 23-Feb-14 20:51:03

I'd say I am.

I bought my first house on my own before meeting dh and back in the days before property prices went nuts.

If we split and had to sell this place I'd get at least half of the 140k equity which would be a huge chunk towards a smaller house (you can buy two bed houses for 90k here no problem).

Plus I have savings and dh has savings. I think I'd be entitled to half of Dh's savings but suspect he might not be allowed half of mine as mines inheritance and I seem to remember in a divorce you can't ask for half of money that's from an inheritance???

I earn approx 30k a year and then dh would probably have to pay some child support. No child care and no debts.

Hassled Sun 23-Feb-14 20:51:30

What Trills said - DH is not financially dependent on me (whereas I am on him) but we both know that he reached his current earning capacity with my support and my career sacrifices. And he certainly would struggle with the cost of a nanny/book-keeper/cook/cleaner/DIY-er etc were I to get hit by a bus.

I do see your point though - I've been back working for a while now but there's still a hell of a gap to make up before we have anything approaching parity. In my case - I don't really think it matters. I appreciate that's probably a naive view.

HolidayArmadillo Sun 23-Feb-14 20:52:15

Yes I'd say so, I earn about the same as my DH, have the capacity to earn more (part time at present, overtime always available) and could afford the house on my own. Nice to not have to though.

WooWooOwl Sun 23-Feb-14 20:53:01

I am, but only because I inherited a house, I don't earn enough to pay rent or a mortgage in this area as well as other bills and living expenses.

I know very few women with young children who are entirely financially dependant. They are all either dependent on their husbands/partners or benefits.

But saying that, there are very few men I know with young children that are completely financially independent either. Even when they are the main or sole breadwinner, childcare costs would push them into dependency either on the state or their parents if the mother of their dc wasn't around to do her share, so I don't think it's just a female thing.

emsyj Sun 23-Feb-14 20:53:45

If DH died, I would be okay - and he would be okay if I died (financially speaking!) We are insured and review our insurance cover regularly.

If we split up, I would be able to support myself and the children, but I would have to move house. That wouldn't bother me too much, I'm not particularly attached to the house we live in at the moment - I would gladly move. DH could afford to keep the house if he wanted to. I have enough equity in this house to pay a deposit on a house in a less expensive area and I earn enough to pay a proportionately smaller mortgage. I probably would get help with childcare costs if I was a single parent too.

Part of my choice to work is not wanting to end up in the position my DMum ended up in - wanting to leave but being financially trapped. I like my job and enjoy going to work, and I like knowing that I am with DH because I want to be - not because money issues trap me here.

georgesdino Sun 23-Feb-14 20:54:38

If you got divorced then benefits would pay all your bills and childcare so it doesnt really matter.

Purplepoodle Sun 23-Feb-14 20:55:12

I earn less as I work pt now we have children. If oh walked out tomorrow I would cope financially. It wouldn't be pretty but with help of tax credits for childcare I could cover the bases.

Lifeisaboxofchocs Sun 23-Feb-14 20:55:17

Hell no!

SAHM. Totally dependant on DH. But then again, he is totally dependant on me to look after his two children.

Been like it for years, and will be the case for another couple of years, but even then I will earn a fraction compared with him.

Neither of us have the slightest issue with it. We rarely talk about money tbh.

Blu Sun 23-Feb-14 20:56:00

I think it's really important not to equate childcare costs with your earnings any more than you do with DH's earnings.

There was a headline in the Observer today that made me spit with rage, something about childcare costs mean that a million mums find it hard to work. Childcare enables your DH to earn his salary whether that care is provided by you or a nursery. If he had to stop work for 50% of he week to undertake his 50% responsibility to care for his child he would be 50% of his salary down.

If you needed to be or wanted to be financially independent, you could be. Your DH would need to be responsible for 50% of childcare and the housing, clothing and feeding if his child. You could up your working hours, etc etc

I think once you have children and implement any kind of differentiation between the way you each contribute to the team effort of family life then independence is a state of mind. Your DH isn't independent because he relies in you in order to make his earnings.

I earn a bit more than DP, but broadly similar - I never ever thought of the childcare costs as being set against my earnings any more than against his.

babyheaves Sun 23-Feb-14 20:56:20

I am completely financially independent.

I've seen too much and read too much about women being shafted by their partners to ever want it any other way.

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